Kids enjoy cooking

November 28, 1990|By Nancy Byal | Nancy Byal,Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

Cooking is fun for kids. Even pre-schoolers enjoy stirring. With a little supervision older children can use knives, appliances and the rangetop and oven. Snack foods are ideal for beginning cooks because the results are soon ready for tasting. Here are some tips:

* Have your beginning cook roll up sleeves, pull back hair, wear an apron and wash hands.

* Teach children to use the right measuring tools: a glass or clear plastic liquid measuring cup for liquids; a metal or plastic dry measuring cup that's exactly the size needed for dry ingredients; standard measuring spoons for small amounts.

* Check liquid measurements at eye level by bending down, not lifting the cup.

* Show kids how to stir flour before measuring and spoon it into a cup without packing. To level a measure, hold the cup over waxed paper and level off with the straight edge of a narrow metal spatula. Remind them that teaspoons and tablespoons of dry ingredients need to be leveled, too.

* Help a child with slicing and chopping. Teach the beginning cook to cut on a cutting board, not on the countertop or while holding food in the hands.

* Always have hot pads handy. Help a child put baking pans into and out of the oven.

* Assist children with hot pans. When heating liquid on the range, teach children to turn the pan handle toward the middle where it won't be bumped.

* Have them stir with a wooden spoon or a metal spoon with a wooden handle. All-metal spoons can get hot enough to burn fingers.

* Make it a rule: Hot pans go on trivets, wooden cutting boards, or cooking racks, never directly on a table or countertop.

* Teach your kids that cleaning up as they go along makes cooking much easier. Have them put ingredients away as they finish with them, especially cold foods. And show children that dirty dishes will be much easier to clean if they are rinsed out first.

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